After opening the season with a victory over the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs on Friday, August 9th, the uOttawa Gee-Gees men’s basketball team has been preparing to take on another NCAA team this Thursday night. The Wisconsin Badgers visit Montpetit Hall for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
“We are excited to play Wisconsin but expect a more difficult match-up. They have been ranked top 25 in preseason rankings, so we have our work cut out for us,” said uOttawa head coach James Derouin. “We weren’t strong defensively against TCU and still have lots to work on, but this will be a good challenge that we are looking forward to.”
Badgers head coach Bo Ryan was the recipient of the Big Ten Coach of the Year award in 2012-2013, leading his team to the NCAA Tournament in March, although the team fell short in the first-round game. Going 23-12 in their overall record last season, the Badgers finished in fourth place in the Big Ten Conference behind big names like Michigan State, and tied with NCAA finalists Michigan.
Ryan will be returning for his thirteenth season with UW, hoping to continue their streak of 16 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Under Ryan, the Badgers teams have won at least 20 games in 10 of his 12 seasons at UW, including six straight. Prior to Ryan’s arrival, the Badgers had just four 20-win seasons in 103 years of basketball.
Wisconsin guard Ben Brust led the Badgers in scoring last year with 11.1 points per game, and set the UW record for most 3-pointers in a year with 79. Leading the team in minutes with 34.3 per game, Brust will be returning to UW as a senior in the fall.
“They should be strong; they are known for their patience on both offence and defence. They like to keep their opponents in the 40s and 50s,” said Derouin. “Hopefully we can shoot like we did against TCU – then we will have a chance,” he added.
Coming off of a great game against TCU, Mike L’Africain is expected to continue being a play-maker and to grow as a CIS point guard for his third season as a Gee-Gee. Coach Derouin also sees improvement in Matt Nelson, who after a summer of hard work stepped up and looked strong against the Horned Frogs.
Out of the lineup for the Gee-Gees are Jeff Plunkett, who is recovering from a concussion, and Terry Thomas, who is ineligible until November 29.
Tickets for Thursday’s game are still available. Purchase your tickets in advance online through Capital Tickets or by phoning the Gee-Gees box office at 613-562-5800 extension 4337.
Ottawa will also be hosting the Syracuse Orangemen on August 24th.Fans can watch both games online at SSN Canada.